COLLABORATION

Australia: ‘Unmatched’ partnership to develop power grid of the future

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Endeavour Energy and the University of Wollongong are partnering to develop the power grid of the future.

The University of Wollongong (UoW) and Endeavour Energy have inked a research partnership to develop a new electrical grid system for Australia as the country heads towards a future reliant on low-carbon and renewable power.

Building on 26 years of continuous support, the partnership provides AU$1.1 million from Endeavour Energy to UoW’s Australian Power Quality and Reliability Centre (APQRC) to fund electrical engineering research, development and teaching activities at the facility.

The funds injection brings Endeavour Energy’s total investment in the university to AU$6.82 million, prompting UOW Vice-Chancellor Paul Wellings to label the partnership “unmatched” by any other electricity network and university. 

“I’d like to thank Endeavor Energy for its very generous investment,” he said in Energy Magazine. Endeavour Energy currently owns, maintains and operates the power grid network supplying 2.4 million people in households and businesses across Sydney’s Greater West, Blue Mountains, Southern Highlands the Illawarra and the South Coast.

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Wellings also said the APQRC, Australia’s first and only power quality centre, is a leading example of university and industry leaders collaborating to deliver long-term benefits to customers, the community and the electricity supply industry.

“The great strengths of the APQRC are its wide-ranging expertise in power systems and customer loads, its strong contacts with industry and knowledge of international research efforts,” he said, according to Energy Magazine.

“It also plays an important role in training the next generation of electrical engineers with more than 400 students graduating since 2008 with a focus on power system engineering.”

Established in 1996, the APQRC’s focus is to work in conjunction with industry to improve the quality and reliability of electricity supply for the benefit of all consumers.

The centre’s partnership with Endeavour Energy advances this mission for both parties.

“Our industrial and commercial customers have told us how important power quality and reliability is for the success of their business operations,” Endeavour Energy Interim Chief Executive Officer Leanne Pickering said.

“Endeavour Energy recognises the need for practical research and development to maintain and improve the services we provide to our customers.

“Our customers depend on us to power their lifestyles and business success, so they can go about their lives knowing their electricity is safe, affordable and reliable. They also expect us to plan for their vastly different energy needs as Australia moves to a clean energy future,” she added.

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Australia is a renowned world leader in renewable energy. Renewable energy grows at a per capita rate that’s 10 times faster than the world average here, according to recent estimates.

Consultants Green Energy Markets said earlier this year that clean energy will provide for 35 percent of the country’s total power needs in two years’ time.

According to Pickering, Endeavour Energy’s power distribution grid is quickly shifting from a one-way flow to a smart network that features multiple mini-generation power plants that feed into the grid from across a wide area.

“Power quality is central to the efficient production, transportation and use of electricity both to and from customers and is critical for business success,” Pickering said.

“To be successful, this transformation requires an openness to change and industry collaboration, something that Endeavour Energy has always strived to do.”